Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s speech at the UN General Assembly

Empowering Weak & Oppressed

Crescent International

Ramadan 08, 1427 2006-10-01

Islamic Movement

by Crescent International (Islamic Movement, Crescent International Vol. 35, No. 8, Ramadan, 1427)

Madam president, distinguished heads of state and government, distinguished heads of delegations, excellencies, ladies and gentlemen:

I praise the Merciful, All-Knowing and Almighty God for blessing me with another opportunity to address this Assembly on behalf of the great nation of Iran and bring a number of issues to the attention of the international community. I also praise the Almighty for the increasing vigilance of peoples across the globe, their courageous presence in different international situations, and the brave expression of their views and aspirations regarding global issues.

Today, humanity passionately craves commitment to truth, devotion to God, quest for justice and respect for the dignity of human beings. Rejection of domination and aggression, defence of the oppressed, and longing for peace are the legitimate demands of the peoples of the world, particularly the new generations and the spirited youth, who aspire to a world free from decadence, aggression and injustice, and replete with love and compassion. The youth have a right to seek justice and truth; and they have a right to build their own futures on the foundations of love, compassion and tranquillity. I praise the Almighty for this immense blessing.

Madam president, excellencies, what afflicts humanity today is certainly not compatible with human dignity; the Almighty has not created human beings so that they should transgress against others and oppress them.

By causing war and conflict, some are fast expanding their domination, accumulating greater wealth and usurping all resources, while others endure the resulting poverty, suffering and misery. Some seek to rule the world by weapons and threats, while others live in perpetual insecurity and danger. Some occupy the homelands of others, thousands of kilometres away from their borders, interfere in their affairs and control their oil and other resources and strategic routes, while others are bombarded daily in their own homes; their children murdered in the streets and alleys of their own country, and their homes are reduced to rubble.

Such behaviour is not worthy of human beings and runs counter to truth, justice and human dignity. The fundamental question is this: under such conditions, where should the oppressed seek justice? Who, or what organisation, defends the rights of the oppressed, and suppresses acts of aggression and oppression? Where is the seat of global justice?

A brief glance at a few examples of the most pressing global issues can further illustrate the problem:

A. The unbridled expansion of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.

Some powers proudly announce their production of second- and third-generation nuclear weapons. What do they need these weapons for? Is the development and stockpiling of these deadly weapons designed to promote peace and democracy? Or are these weapons, in fact, instruments of coercion and threat against other peoples and governments? How long should the people of the world live with the nightmare of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons?

Some powers proudly announce their production of second- and third-generation nuclear weapons. What do they need these weapons for? Is the development and stockpiling of these deadly weapons designed to promote peace and democracy? Or are these weapons, in fact, instruments of coercion and threat against other peoples and governments? How long should the people of the world live with the nightmare of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons? What restrains the powers that produce and possess these weapons? How can they be held accountable before the international community? And are the inhabitants of these countries content with the waste of their wealth and resources for the production of such destructive arsenals? Is it not possible to rely on justice, ethics and wisdom instead of these instruments of death? Aren't wisdom and justice more compatible with peace and tranquillity than nuclear, chemical and biological weapons? If wisdom, ethics and justice prevail, then oppression and aggression will be uprooted, threats will wither away and no reason for conflict will remain. This is a solid proposition because most global conflicts are rooted in injustice, and from the powerful, not being contented with their own rights, striving to devour the rights of others.

People across the globe aspire to justice and are willing to make sacrifices for its sake. Would it not be easier for global powers to ensure their survival by championing real justice, compassion and peace, instead of continuing the proliferation of nuclear and chemical weapons and the threat of their use? The experience of the threat and the use of nuclear weapons is before us. Has it achieved anything for the perpetrators other than exacerbation of tension, hatred and animosity among nations?

B. Occupation of countries and exacerbation of hostilities

Occupation of countries, including Iraq, has continued for the last three years. Not a day goes by without hundreds of people being killed in cold blood. The occupiers are incapable of establishing security in Iraq. Despite the establishment of the lawful government and national assembly of Iraq, there are covert and overt efforts to heighten insecurity, magnify and aggravate differences within Iraqi society, and instigate civil strife.

There is no indication that the foreign occupiers have the necessary political will to eliminate the sources of instability. Numerous terrorists have been apprehended by the government of Iraq, only to be released by the occupiers on various pretexts. It appears that intensification of hostilities and terrorism serves as a pretext for the continued presence of foreign forces in Iraq.

Where can the people of Iraq seek refuge, and from whom should the government of Iraq seek justice? Who can ensure Iraq's security? Insecurity in Iraq affects the entire region. Can the Security Council play a role in restoring peace and security in Iraq, while the occupiers are themselves permanent members of the Council? Can the Security Council make a fair decision or adopt a fair course in this matter?

C. The situation in Palestine

The roots of the Palestinian problem go back to the second world war. Under the pretext of protecting some of the survivors of that conflict, the land of Palestine was occupied; it was placed under the control of some of the war's survivors, bringing ever larger populations from elsewhere in the world, who had not been even affected by the second world war; and a government was established in the territory of others with a population collected from across the world at the expense of millions of the rightful inhabitants of the land into homelessness and landlessness. This is a tragedy with hardly a precedent in history. Refugees continue to live in temporary refugee-camps, and many have died still hoping to one day return. Can any logic, law or legal reasoning justify this tragedy? Can any member of the UN accept such a tragedy occurring in their own homeland?

The pretexts for the creation of the regime occupying al-Quds al-Sharif are so weak that its proponents want to silence any voice even trying merely to speak about them, as they are concerned that shedding light on the situation will undermine the raison d'être of this regime (as it has). The tragedy does not end with the establishment of a regime in the territory of others. Regrettably, from its inception, that regime has been a constant source of threat and insecurity in the Middle East, waging war, spilling blood and impeding progress, and has also been used by some powers as an instrument of division, coercion and pressure on the people of the Middle East. Reference to these historical realities may cause some disquiet among supporters of this regime. But these are facts and not myth. History has unfolded before our eyes.

Worst yet is the unwarranted blanket support provided to this regime. Just watch what is happening in Palestine. People are being bombarded in their own homes and their children murdered in their own streets and alleys. But no authority, not even the Security Council, gives them any support or protection. Why?

At the same time, a government is formed democratically and by the free choice of the electorate in a part of the Palestinian territory. But instead of receiving the support of the so-called champions of democracy, its ministers and members of parliament are illegally abducted and incarcerated in full view of the international community. Which council or international organisation stands up to protect this brutally besieged government? And why does the Security Council not take any steps?

Let me here address Lebanon:

For thirty-three long days the Lebanese lived under a barrage of fire and bombs, and close to 1.5 million of them were displaced; meanwhile some members of the Security Council in effect chose a path that provided ample opportunity for the aggressor to achieve its objectives militarily. We saw that the Security Council of the UN was practically incapacitated by certain powers, unable even to call for a ceasefire. The Security Council sat idly by for so many days, witnessing the cruel scenes of atrocities against the Lebanese while tragedies such as Qana were persistently repeated. Why?

In all these cases, the answer is self-evident. When the power behind the hostilities is itself a permanent member of the Security Council, how can this Council fulfill its responsibilities?

D. Lack of respect for the rights of members of the international community

Excellencies, I now wish to refer to some of the grievances of the Iranian people and the injustices against them.

The Islamic Republic of Iran is a member of the IAEA and is committed to the NPT. All our nuclear activities are transparent, peaceful and under the watchful eyes of IAEA inspectors. Why then are there objections to our legally recognised rights? Which governments object to these rights? Governments that themselves benefit from nuclear energy and the fuel cycle. Some of them have abused nuclear technology for non-peaceful ends, including the production of nuclear bombs, and some even have a bleak record of using them against humanity.

Which organisation or Council should address these injustices? Is the Security Council in a position to address them? Can it stop violations of the inalienable rights of countries? Can it prevent certain powers from impeding scientific progress of other countries?

The abuse of the Security Council, as an instrument of threat and coercion, is indeed a source of grave concern. Some permanent members of the Security Council, even when they are themselves parties to international disputes, conveniently threaten others with the Security Council and declare, even before any decision by the Council, the condemnation of their opponents by the Council. The question is: what can justify such exploitation of the Security Council, and doesn't it erode the credibility and effectiveness of the Council? Can such behaviour contribute to the ability of the Council to maintain security?

A review of these historical realities leads to the conclusion that justice has become a victim of force and aggression. Many global arrangements have become unjust, discriminatory and irresponsible as a result of undue pressure from some of the powerful; threats with nuclear weapons and other instruments of war by some powers have taken the place of respect for the rights of nations and the maintenance and promotion of peace and tranquillity.

For some powers, claims of promotion of human rights and democracy last only as long as they can be used as instruments of pressure and intimidation against other nations. But when it comes to the interests of the claimants, concepts such as democracy, the right of self-determination of nations, respect for the rights and intelligence of peoples, international law and justice have no place or value. This is demonstrated in the way the elected government of the Palestinian people is treated, as well as in the support extended to the Zionist regime. It does not matter if people are murdered in Palestine, turned into refugees, captured, imprisoned or besieged; that does not violate ‘human rights'.

Nations are not equal in exercising their rights recognized by international law. Enjoying these rights is dependent on the whim of certain major powers. Apparently the Security Council can only be used to ensure the security and the rights of a few big powers. But when the oppressed are decimated by bombardment, the Security Council must remain aloof and not even call for a ceasefire. Is this not a tragedy of historic proportions for the Security Council, which is charged with maintaining the security of countries?

The prevailing order of contemporary global interactions is such that certain powers identify themselves with the international community, and consider their decisions to supersede those of over 180 countries. They consider themselves the masters and rulers of the entire world, and other nations as only second class in the world order.

The question needs to be asked: if the governments of the US or Britain, who are permanent members of the Security Council, commit aggression, occupation and violation of international law, which of the organs of the UN can take them to account? Can a Council in which they are privileged members address their violations? Has this ever happened? In fact, we have repeatedly seen the reverse.

The question needs to be asked: if the governments of the US or Britain, who are permanent members of the Security Council, commit aggression, occupation and violation of international law, which of the organs of the UN can take them to account? Can a Council in which they are privileged members address their violations? Has this ever happened? In fact, we have repeatedly seen the reverse. If they have differences with a nation or state, they drag it to the Security Council, and as claimants arrogate to themselves simultaneously the roles of prosecutor, judge and executioner. Is this a just order? Can there be a more vivid case of discrimination and more clear evidence of injustice? Regrettably, the persistence of some hegemonic powers in imposing their exclusionist policies on international decision-making mechanisms, including the Security Council, has resulted in a growing mistrust in global public opinion, undermining the credibility and effectiveness of this most universal system of collective security.

How long can such a situation last? It is evident that the behaviour of some powers constitutes the greatest challenge before the Security Council, the entire UN and its affiliated agencies. The present structure and working methods of the Security Council, which are legacies of the second world war, are not responsive to either the expectations of the current generation or the contemporary needs of humanity.

Today it is undeniable that the Security Council, most critically and urgently, needs legitimacy and effectiveness. It must be acknowledged that as long as the Council is unable to act on behalf of the entire international community in a transparent, just and democratic manner, it will be neither legitimate nor effective. Furthermore, the direct relation between the abuse of veto and the erosion of the legitimacy and effectiveness of the Council has now been clearly and undeniably established. We cannot, and should not, hope for the eradication, or even containment, of injustice, imposition and oppression without reforming the structure and working methods of the Council.

Is it appropriate to expect this generation to submit to the decisions made and arrangements established over half a century ago? Do this generation and future generations not have the right to decide themselves about the sort of world in which they want to live?

Today, serious reform in the structure and working methods of the Security Council is, more than ever before, necessary. Justice and democracy dictate that the role of the General Assembly, as the highest organ of the UN, must be respected. The General Assembly can then, through appropriate mechanisms, take on the task of reforming the Organisation, and particularly rescue the Security Council from its current state. In the interim, the non-aligned movement, the Organisation of the Islamic Conference and the African continent should each have a representative as a permanent member of the Security Council, with veto powers. The resulting balance might prevent further violations of the rights of nations.

Madam president and excellencies, it is essential that spirituality and ethics find their rightful place in international relations. Without ethics and spirituality, attained in light of the teachings of Divine prophets, justice, freedom and human rights cannot be guaranteed.

Resolution of contemporary human crises lies in observing ethics and spirituality and the governance of righteous people of competence and piety. When respect for the rights of human beings become the predominant objective, then injustice, ill-temperament, aggression and war will fade away.

Human beings are all God's creatures and are all endowed with dignity and respect. No one has superiority over others. No individual or state can arrogate to themselves special privileges, nor can they disregard the rights of others and, through influence and pressure, position themselves as the "international community". Citizens of Asia, Africa, Europe andAmerica are all equal before the law. Over 6 billion inhabitants of the earth are all equal and worthy of respect. Justice and protection of human dignity are the two necessities for sustainable peace, security and tranquillity in the world. It is for this reason that we state:

Sustainable peace and tranquillity in the world can only be attained through justice, spirituality, ethics, compassion and respect for human dignity. All peoples and countries are entitled to peace, progress and security. We are all members of the international community and we are all entitled to insist on the creation of a climate of compassion, love and justice.

All members of the UN are affected by events and developments in today's world. We can make firm and logical decisions, thereby improving the prospects of a better life for current and future generations. Together we can eradicate the roots of bitter maladies and afflictions, and instead, through the promotion of universal and lasting values such as ethics, spirituality and justice, allow our peoples to taste the sweetness of a better future.

People, driven by their divine nature, intrinsically seek good, virtue, perfection and beauty. Relying on our peoples, we can take giant steps towards reform and pave the road for human perfection. Whether we like it or not, justice, peace and virtue will sooner or later prevail in the world with the will of Almighty God. It is imperative, and also desirable, that we too contribute to the promotion of justice and virtue.

The Almighty and Merciful God, who is the Creator of the Universe, is also its Lord and Ruler. Justice is His command. He commands His creatures to support one another in good, virtue and piety, and not in decadence and corruption. He commands His creatures to enjoin one another to righteousness and virtue and not to sin and transgression. All divine prophets from the Prophet Adam (peace be upon him) to the Prophet Moses (peace be upon him), to the Prophet Jesus Christ (peace be upon him), to the Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him), have all called humanity to monotheism, justice, brotherhood, love and compassion. Is it not possible to build a better world based on monotheism, justice, love and respect for the rights of human beings, and thereby transform animosities into friendship?

I emphatically declare that today's world, more than ever before, longs for just and righteous people who love all humanity; and above all it longs for the perfect righteous human being and the real saviour who has been promised to all peoples, who will establish justice, peace and brotherhood on the planet.

O Almighty God, all men and women are Your creatures and You have ordained their guidance and salvation. Bestow upon humanity, who thirst for justice, the perfect human being promised to all by You, and make us among his followers and among those who strive for his return and his cause.

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